How do they get away with it? That is a recurring question in the long nightmare that has overtaken us and allowed the most corrupt, power-mad, fanatical, incompetent, oil-guzzling, hypocritical, self-aggrandizing, war-mongering, runners of failed businesses to commandeer the country and endanger our democracy with policies that fail even a minimalist’s measure of good governance.
From the start claims that an MBA president would conduct the affairs of state in a manner that would stand in high relief to the previous administration’s inefficiencies were superficial and overblown. The photo-op cabinet gatherings that always started on time with attendees dressed in proper leadership garb were cozy enclaves that hid the subterranean nature of what these folks were really up to.
Those secret meetings in Vice President Cheney’s office with energy moguls, the longing for an excuse to invade Iraq, the murmurings that presaged attempts to gut government programs and privatize Social Security – – those were the big ideas at work as the pin-stripe brigade began a rampage that had its roots in the administration’s ideological game plan long before September 11th provided the means to implement its wishful thinking. And for the evangelicals who had helped elect this president a few bones – – creationism, gay marriage, roadblocks to embryonic stem-cell research, holds on family planning information or sex education that went beyond abstinence, to name just a few of the ‘initiatives’ introduced at the behest of right-wing religious leaders.
And underpinning the whole process were tax cuts that so lop-sidedly accrued to wealthy political benefactors. Most remarkable in that particular instance is the notion among so many that lowering taxes has something to do with them. In fact nothing could be further from the truth just as nothing could be less the case than that our invasion of Iraq has made the country safer. These twin deceptions have been embraced by large numbers of a gullible and poorly informed electorate that is deliberately misled by a propaganda machine emanating directly from The White House and filtered through Congressional leaders and media hacks.
What in fact has become of the meager tax cuts most ordinary Americans enjoyed? With stagnant wages and rising fuel costs those benefits have likely been devoured and re-distributed to corporate magnates and corrupt government officials – – people who seem to have no problem profiting from the largesse of middle-income wage earners even as they legislate according to the dictates of lobbyists and line up lucrative post-government jobs in the lobbying industry for themselves. If this hasn’t become obvious to Mr. and Mrs. Average American by now, it should be the business of those outside the charmed circle to make it clear before the next election.
As the president has said ‘you have to keep repeating things over and over to get the truth out’ except, of course, what he and his people were ‘getting out’ wasn’t the truth; that was carefully concealed under layers of confusing rhetoric. What people in the administration seem to forget, though, is that tapes and videos are easily retrieved highlighting discrepancies and downright lies about things which have been disproven and for which no adequate explanation or disclaimer can be made. Such inconsistencies should be re-visited “over and over” until the truth sinks in.
But beyond the administration’s free ride in the wake of 9/11, it is curious that an incompetent bunch of losers could ascend to positions of such influence and power. Neither Bush nor Cheney were especially gifted in business. The president was buttressed by family friends in various unsuccessful ventures and allowed to parlay some dubious dollars into a windfall when he sold the Texas Rangers. Cheney, on the other hand, made millions as an ineffectual, and possibly suspect, CEO of Halliburton and walked off leaving the company in dire straits due in part to decisions he made, among them acquiring the Dresser Corporation that saddled Halliburton with a huge asbestos liability. Perhaps he assumed he could influence legislation to set limits on asbestos claims, an effort he made once he became vice president. And of course, Halliburton has had a felicitous reprieve as a result of its no-bid wartime contracts.
Adding to the problem of being in way over their heads was the installation of equally unqualified cronies and ideologues in positions that required expertise, not just political credentials. The party faithful found a place at the table, but proved to be incapable of formulating effective policies either because they were too long in the tooth to fathom the complexities of the 21st century or were tied too slavishly to their Commander in Chief’s limited and limiting vision.
It may not be enough to say simply “had enough?” Still – – no harm in reminding voters how this White House and Republican Congress have failed to provide adequate “homeland security”, a fair-and-balanced economic agenda or sound foreign policy and how they exemplify the corruption that secrecy and cronyism engender.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *